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The Antikythera Mechanism.

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Hellios View Drop Down
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  Quote Hellios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Antikythera Mechanism.
    Posted: 30-Nov-2006 at 14:48
Interesting to see if & how people will respond to these findings by an international team of scientists.
 
Technology works out secrets of ancient Greek calculator.
 
"An international scientific team has used the latest X-ray and super-imaging technology to reveal the workings of an ancient Greek calculator that could accurately follow the movements of the sun and moon, predict eclipses, and recreate the irregular orbit of the moon as seen from the earth."
 
"The international team, led by Edmunds and Tony Freeth, Cardiff University, included astronomers, mathematicians, computer experts, script analysts and conservation experts from the UK, Greece and the United States."

"It's a very complex mechanism that has transformed our understanding of what the Greeks were capable of in terms of technology," said Tony Freeth, a researcher on the project.
 
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"The device, known as the "Antikythera Mechanism", consists of about 80 bronze fragments, among them almost 30 gear wheels of different sizes."
 
 
 
"The fragments were found in 1901, and scientists have been studying & reassembling the mechanism since.  Although earlier researchers correctly identified the corroded remains as an astronomical clock, their fragile condition had prevented a close-up study until the arrival of new technology."
 
"Mike Edmunds, a professor at Cardiff University in the UK, presented the international team's findings at a conference in Athens."
 
"The dinner plate-sized calculator was unexpectedly sophisticated for its time; it could follow the movements of the sun and moon, predict eclipses, and recreate the irregular orbit of the moon as seen from the earth.  The device may also have predicted the positions of some other planets.  Some gears covered cycles of as many as 80 years."
 
"High-resolution surface imaging technology has made it possible to read inscriptions on more of the fragments - apparently parts of a manual on operating the calculator."
 
"Repeated analysis of the lettering indicates a construction date of between 150 and 100 BC, slightly earlier than had been assumed, describes how it was made & used, and mentions information on astronomy."
 
"Overall, the mechanism is technically more complex than any comparable known mechanical device for at least a millennium afterwards.  "It's as complicated as a clock," said Prof Edmunds.  "It is only when you get Medieval astronomical clocks that you go beyond this in complexity.  The design is beautiful, the astronomy is right."
 
"The device could also mechanically replicate the irregular motions of the Moon, caused by its elliptical orbit around the Earth, using a clever design involving two superimposed gear-wheels, one slightly off-center, that are connected by a pin-and-slot device."

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Edited by Hellios - 12-Dec-2006 at 04:17
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konstantinius View Drop Down
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  Quote konstantinius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Nov-2006 at 15:27
There's also an article on today's issue of "Kathimerini", a large Athenian daily newspaper, www.kathimerini.gr. Click on the english edition if you visit. Assumed founder of the device is either Ipparchus (most famous astronomer of his day) or Poseidonius the Rhodian.
Edmonts said that "we've tried avery aspect of our modern technology and the mechanism has put us to shame every single time". The discovery of the device is also a serious blow to claims that Greeks remained on the theoretical field only (which of course is partially true for some things) and never tested their scientific theories.
This device perhaps would've been impossisble without the explosion of knowledge that took place in Ptolemaic Egypt combining all aspects of Greek, egyptian, and M. Eastern astronomical advances and know-how. If those silly fanatical early Christians hadn't burned the library in Alexandria, who knows what else we might know today about that. 


Edited by konstantinius - 30-Nov-2006 at 15:29
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  Quote akritas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Dec-2006 at 07:18

In the below picture you can see the 82 pieces of the Antikythera Maechanism as were found 100 years ago under the sea

 



Edited by akritas - 03-Dec-2006 at 07:24
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  Quote Duke Arioh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Aug-2012 at 22:33
hi all. i am new to the forum and i hope you will be parient with my sciolism.

About the Antikythera Maechanism. As far i know there is one more mechanical instrument with gear wheels, the  sundial calendar (Byzantine). So these mechanisms were not so uncommon to the ancient world( well at least not to the greek world). i would like to know ,if anyone knows what is the official thesis of the archeological institutes around the world.
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Aug-2012 at 23:29
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

S. T. Friedman


Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

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  Quote Mountain Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Aug-2012 at 11:41
The original mechanism:


Reconstruction:


This remains one of the enduring mysteries of all time.  The mechanism is remarkably sophisticated for it's time, and would be a challenge to construct even today.  Hand cutting precise gears requires a great deal of technological and mathematical knowledge and precision going all the way back to working out what you want the device to do and determining how such a device must work in order to meet those objectives, both mechanically and in terms of it's predictive abilities.

One can only wonder what other achievements remain shrouded in the mists of Time past, yet to be discovered or perhaps never to be discovered. To me, this is on a par to discovering that the Mayans might have had the equivalent of modern sextants and chronometers. It raises technological appreciation of the culture by a quantum leap.


Edited by Mountain Man - 19-Aug-2012 at 11:45
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